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red rage Jurgen Klopp explains his decision to play Mohamed Salah in final Champions League tie

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp Ritzau  via REUTERS/Henning Bagger

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp Ritzau via REUTERS/Henning Bagger

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp Ritzau via REUTERS/Henning Bagger

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has expressed his concern over fatigue in his squad time and again in recent weeks, yet he insisted he had no regrets after fielding a host of star names as his side drew 1-1 against FC Midtjylland in the Champions League.

With Liverpool already through to the next round as group winners, Sunday World columnist John Aldridge was among those who suggested Klopp should 'play the kids' in the final group game in Denmark.

Yet he surprisingly named Fabinho (who was taken off at half-time), Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota in a starting line-up that already featured a host of younger players.

Salah eclipsed Steven Gerrard as Liverpool’s top scorer in the Champions League with his double record-breaking goal in a 1-1 draw against Midtjylland.

The Egypt international struck after just 55 seconds as his 22nd goal in the competition also proved to be the club’s fastest.

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 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah in action with FC Midtjylland's Paulinho Ritzau Scanpix via REUTERS/Henning Bagger

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah in action with FC Midtjylland's Paulinho Ritzau Scanpix via REUTERS/Henning Bagger

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah in action with FC Midtjylland's Paulinho Ritzau Scanpix via REUTERS/Henning Bagger

However, Alexander Scholz’s VAR-awarded 62nd-minute penalty denied Jurgen Klopp’s side victory and their best return from the group stage, with the German summing up his team selection with these comments.

"You can make changes but you need a few key positions," declared Klopp as he explained his decision to play big names.

"That's why Fabinho played and the decision for Mo, who looked fine and that's why we didn't take him off. He had no issues."

Liverpool handed a debut to defender Billy Koumetio, who became the youngest player to play for Liverpool in the Champions League at 18 years and 25 days, while 19-year-old Leighton Clarkson played 90 minutes in midfield.

"We will let them experience this without making this one game too big," stated Klopp said. "It's a wonderful thing to have your first Champions League game, but a career is all about how many you will have.

"Both boys are really skilled but there is a lot to learn. We will give them the time to do so. They helped us a lot tonight because we could rest other players, which was very important.

"I’m pretty sure it was a big night for both of them. I am really thankful they are already as good as they are, that’s the reason we can use them, but I know there is still a lot more to come."

The game was not the best advert for video technology with long delays over three second-half goal incidents which contributed to eight minutes of added time and plenty of additional frustration.

Takumi Minamino had a late goal ruled out after a handball from Sadio Mane in the build-up, with Klopp questioning the VAR technology once again.

"It just took too long," he added. "I didn't see it back, if they were right or if they were difficult [decisions] to make, but it took three or four minutes, and in the cold for the boys, it's really hard.

"I can already hear people saying, 'my God, is he talking about that again?' but it took a really long time and it was really cold. That doesn't help!

"I used to be one of the people who said, 'yes, VAR is a good idea' but I'm really not sure if I would say that again, to be honest. Now we have it, and now we have to deal with it."

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